The accolade comes with a 200,000 pound cash prize to help the designer “take [her] business to the next level.”
“On top of her substantial gifts as a designer, she has rethought the way her collections are made, working with women who are homeless or in prison, among others, using her business to bring training and support. She really is a marvel.”
The judging committee included model Adut Akech; Matchesfashion global fashion officer Natalie Kingham, and Burberry chief marketing officer Rod Manley.
Williams, who was also the winner of the Queen Elizabeth II Award in 2019, has become as known for her activism and commitment to ethical manufacturing as for her colorful, crafty fashion. She often works with upcycled materials and partners with local charities to support women and highlight issues of homelessness across the U.K.
The rest of the shortlisted designers — including Alighieri, Asai, Chopova Lowena, Completedworks, E.L.V. Denim, Halpern, Kwaidan Editions, Olubiyi Thomas, Richard Malone and Supriya Lele — will be receiving full mentorship support via the BFC’s business support team.
“All shortlisted designers deserved the prize, but the judging panel was particularly impressed by Bethany’s exceptional talent for using recycled deadstock and organic materials made in the U.K. and her ways of collaborating with communities and charities, aiming to shape the industry toward thinking more ethically. I cannot wait to see her business grow even more,” said BFC chief executive officer Caroline Rush, who was also part of the chairing committee.
This year, the BFC has returned to naming a single winner. In 2020, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the organization decided to split the cash prize between that year’s six shortlisted brands.